American Heathens

After unsatisfactory experiences with mainstream religions, many Americans have felt the calling of Odin, Thor, and other Old Norse deities. Rooted in ancient Norse belief and custom, Ásatrú, meaning “belief in the gods,” is now a fast-growing polytheistic faith in the United States with several formal organizations, including the Ásatrú Alliance, which is based in Arizona. Sometimes tribal and exclusive, the faith can also be controversial. Many adherents, who call themselves “Heathens,” see Ásatrú not so much a religion as a way of life, one both derived from Scandinavian tradition and shaped by American culture and individualism.